Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Carlos the Jackal


Carlos the Jackal

Ilich Ramírez Sánchez born October 12, 1949), also known as Carlos the Jackal, is a Venezuelan terrorist currently serving a life sentence in France for the 1975 murder of an informant for the French government and two French counter-intelligence agents.While in prison he was further convicted of attacks in France that killed 11 and injured 150 people and sentenced to an additional life term.

A committed Marxist-Leninist, Ramírez Sánchez is widely regarded as one of the most famous political terrorists of his era. When he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1970, recruiting officer Bassam Abu Sharif gave him the code name "Carlos" because of his South American roots. After several bungled bombings, Ramírez Sánchez achieved notoriety for the 1975 raid on the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, which killed three people. This was followed by a string of attacks against Western targets. For many years he was among the most wanted international fugitives. Carlos was dubbed "The Jackal" by The Guardian after one of its correspondents reportedly spotted Frederick Forsyth's 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal near some of the fugitive's belongings.

For his part, Ramírez Sánchez denied the 1975 killings, saying they were orchestrated by Mossad, the Israeli secret service, and condemning Israel as a terrorist nation. During his trial in France in 1997, he said, "When one wages war for 30 years, there is a lot of blood spilled—mine and others. But we never killed anyone for money, but for a cause—the liberation of Palestine."

Ramírez Sánchez, son of Marxist lawyer José Altagarcia Ramírez-Navas and Elba Maria Sánchez, was born in Michelena, in the Venezuelan state of Táchira. Despite his mother's pleas to give their firstborn child a Christian first name, José called him Ilich, after Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, while two younger siblings were named "Lenin" (born 1951) and "Vladimir" (born 1958). Ilich attended a school in Caracas and joined the youth movement of the national communist party in 1959. After attending the Third Tricontinental Conference in January 1966 with his father, Ilich reportedly spent the summer at Camp Matanzas, a guerrilla warfare school run by the Cuban DGI near Havana. Later that year, his parents divorced.

His mother took the children to London, where she studied at Stafford House College in Kensington and the London School of Economics. In 1968, José tried to enroll Ilich and his brother at theSorbonne in Paris, but eventually opted for the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. According to the BBC, it was "a notorious hotbed for recruiting foreign communists to the Soviet Union"  He was expelled from the university in 1970.

From Moscow Ramírez Sánchez travelled to Beirut, Lebanon, where he volunteered for the PFLP in July 1970. He was sent to a training camp for foreign volunteers of the PFLP on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. On graduating, he studied at a finishing school, code-named H4 and staffed by Iraqi military, near the Syria-Iraq border. On completing guerrilla training, Carlos (as he was now calling himself) played an active role for the PFLP in the north of Jordan during the Black September conflict of 1970, gaining a reputation as a fighter. After the organisation was pushed out of Jordan, he returned to Beirut. He was sent to be trained by Wadie Haddad. He eventually left the Middle East to attend courses at the Polytechnic of Central London (now known as the University of Westminster), and apparently continued to work for the PFLP.

In 1973, Carlos conducted a failed PFLP assassination attempt on Joseph Sieff, a Jewish businessman and vice president of the British Zionist Federation. On 30 December Carlos called on Sieff's home on Queen's Grove in St John's Wood and ordered the maid to take him to Sieff.[21] Finding Sieff in the bathroom, in his bath, Carlos fired one bullet at Sieff from his Tokarev 7.62mmpistol, which bounced off Sieff just between his nose and upper lip and knocked him unconscious; the gun then jammed and Carlos fled.[21][22][23] The attack was announced as retaliation forMossad's assassination in Paris of Mohamed Boudia, a PFLP leader.

Carlos admits responsibility for a failed bomb attack on the Bank Hapoalim in London and car bomb attacks on three French newspapers accused of pro-Israeli leanings. He claimed to be the grenade thrower at a Parisian restaurant in an attack that killed two and injured 30. He later participated in two failed rocket propelled grenade attacks on El Al airplanes at Orly Airport near Paris, on January 13 and 17, 1975.

On June 27, 1975, Carlos's PFLP contact, Lebanon-born Michel Moukharbal, who later turned out to be an agent for the Mossad, was captured and interrogated by the French domestic intelligence agency, the DST. When two unarmed agents of the DST interrogated Carlos at a Parisian house party, Moukharbal revealed Carlos's identity. Carlos then shot and killed the two agents and Moukharbal.[24] Carlos fled the scene, and managed to escape via Brussels to Beirut.

OPEC raid and expulsion from PFLP[edit]

From Beirut, Carlos participated in the planning for the attack on the headquarters of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) in Vienna. On December 21, 1975, he led the six-person team (which included Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann) that attacked the meeting of OPEC leaders; they took more than 60 hostages and killed three: an Austrian policeman, an Iraqi OPEC employee and a member of the Libyan delegation. Carlos demanded that the Austrian authorities read a communiqué about the Palestinian cause on Austrian radio and television networks every two hours. To avoid the threatened execution of a hostage every 15 minutes, the Austrian government agreed and the communiqué was broadcast as demanded.

On December 22, the government provided the PFLP and 42 hostages an airplane and flew them to Algiers, as demanded for the hostages' release. Ex-Royal Navy pilot Neville Atkinson, at that time the personal pilot for Libya's leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, flew Carlos and a number of others, including Hans-Joachim Klein, a supporter of the imprisoned Baader-Meinhof group and a member of the Revolutionary Cells, and Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann, from Algiers.[25] Atkinson flew the DC-9 to Tripoli, where more hostages were freed, before he returned to Algiers. The last hostages were freed there and some of the terrorists were granted asylum.

In the years following the OPEC raid, Bassam Abu Sharif, another PLFP agent, and Klein claimed that Carlos had received a large sum of money for the safe release of the Arab hostages and had kept it for his personal use. Claims are that the amount was between US$20 million and US$50 million. The source of the money is also uncertain but, according to Klein, it was from "an Arab president". Carlos later told his lawyers that the money was paid by the Saudis on behalf of the Iranians and was "diverted en route and lost by the Revolution."

Carlos left Algeria for Libya and then Aden, where he attended a meeting of senior PFLP officials to justify his failure to execute two senior OPEC hostages – the finance minister of Iran, Jamshid Amuzgar, and the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Zaki Yamani. His trainer and PFLP-EO leader Wadie Haddad expelled Carlos for not shooting hostages when PFLP demands were not met, thus failing his mission. In September 1976, Carlos was arrested, detained in Yugoslavia, and flown to Baghdad. He chose to settle in Aden, where he tried to found his own Organization of Armed Struggle, composed of Syrian, Lebanese, and German rebels. He also connected with the Stasi, East Germany's secret police. They provided him with an office and safe houses in East Berlin, a support staff of 75, and a serviced car, and allowed him to carry a pistol while in public.

From here, Carlos is believed to have planned his attacks on several European targets, including that on the Radio Free Europe offices in Munich in February 1981. On February 16, 1982, two of the group—Swiss terrorist Bruno Breguet and Ramírez Sánchez's wife Magdalena Kopp—were arrested in Paris, in a car containing explosives. Following the arrest, a letter was sent to the French embassy in The Hague demanding their immediate liberation. Meanwhile, Carlos unsuccessfully lobbied the French government for their release.

In retaliation, France was struck by a spectacular wave of terrorist attacks, including : the bombing of the Paris-Toulouse TGV train on March 29, 1982 (5 dead, 77 injured); the car-bombing of the Libyan newspaper Al-Watan al-Arabi in Paris on April 22, 1982 (1 dead, 63 injured); the bombing of the Gare Saint-Charles in Marseille on December 31, 1983 (2 dead, 33 injured), and the bombing of the Marseille-Paris TGV train (3 dead, 12 injured) on the same day.[28] In August 1983, he also attacked the Maison de France in West Berlin, killing one man and injuring twenty-two.[27] Within days of the bombings, Carlos sent letters to three separate news agencies claiming responsibility for the bombings as revenge for a French air strike against a PFLP training camp in Lebanon the previous month.

Historians' examination of Stasi files, recently accessible after the German reunification, demonstrate a link between Ramírez Sánchez and the KGB, via the East German secret police. WhenLeonid Brezhnev visited West Germany in 1981, Ramírez Sánchez did not undertake any attacks, as the KGB had requested. Western intelligence had expected activity during this period. At one point, the Romanian Securitate hired Carlos to assassinate Romanian dissidents living in France.[citation needed]

With conditional support from the Iraqi regime and after the death of Haddad, Ramírez Sánchez offered the services of his group to the PFLP and other groups. His group's first attack may have been a failed rocket attack on the Superphénix French nuclear power station on January 18, 1982.

These attacks led to international pressure on East European states that harbored Ramírez Sánchez. For over two years, he lived in Hungary, in Budapest's second district known as the quarter of nobles. His main cut-out for some of his financial resources, such as Gaddafi or Dr. George Habash, was the friend of his sister, "Dietmar C", a known German terrorist and the leader of the Panther Brigade of the PFLP. Hungary expelled Ramírez Sánchez in late 1985, and he was refused sanctuary in Iraq, Libya and Cuba before he found limited support in Syria. He settled inDamascus with Kopp and their daughter, Elba Rosa. The Syrian government forced Ramírez Sánchez to remain inactive, and he was subsequently seen as a neutralized threat. In 1990, the Iraqi government approached him for work, and, in September 1991, he was expelled from Syria. After a short stay in Jordan, he was accorded protection in Sudan where he lived in Khartoum.

Western accounts long claimed Ramírez Sánchez as a KGB agent. Some attacks may have been attributed to him for lack of anyone else to claim credit. His own boasts about probably nonexistent missions have further confused the issue.


Can the Jackal's bride spring him from jail? Now he's in the dock - defended by his besotted barrister wife

By the time Carlos the Jackal walked into a packed courtroom at the Palais de Justice in Paris yesterday, the atmosphere inside had reached fever pitch. Among those jostling for space, determined to get a glimpse of the notorious terrorist, was a man caught up in one of his alleged bombings. 'It's been a long time,' he whispered, as the Jackal — wearing jeans, sweatshirt, and a blue casual jacket — finally stepped into the bullet-proof dock with a cage roof at the high-security Assizes specially set up for him.

Killer: Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez

Venezuelan terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, aka Carlos, arriving for his appeal in 2001

Killer and lothario: Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez, romanced a string of glamourous women. Pictured in the 1970 (left) and in 2001

It has been 14 years since the Venezuelan was sentenced to life for the 1975 killing of two unarmed policemen and one of their informers in the French capital. For many, his 1997 incarceration in La Santé prison was the end of the story.

The Jackal disappeared behind bars and became the stuff of criminal legend.

But yesterday, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was brought from his cell to be tried on new charges relating to four attacks in France in 1982 and 1983, which killed 11 people and wounded up to 200 others. Prosecutors allege he carried out the attacks in order to force the authorities to release two of his accomplices, including Magdalena Kopp, whom he went on to marry.

Forty years after he began his killing, he has returned to the world stage in a criminal trial which will see his notoriety reintroduced to a generation who wrongly believed that Osama Bin Laden was the world's first 'super-terrorist'.

Inevitably, doing time in France's toughest jail, where fellow inmates include the deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, has transformed the once smooth-faced Carlos.

For the defence: French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who is also married to Carlos the Jackal

For the defence: French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who is also married to Carlos the Jackal

The 62-year-old — who appeared in court yesterday to announce 'I am a professional revolutionary' — was white-haired with a shabby beard, although the defiant brown eyes and sneering mouth remained unchanged.

And if there was any question that the ageing Jackal felt any remorse for his crimes, the clenched-fist salute he delivered made his position very clear: the Marxist Islamist terrorist is still at war with the world.

As ever, Carlos, whose nickname comes from Frederick Forsyth's novel The Day Of The Jackal — about an attempted assassination of French President Charles de Gaulle — appeared determined to exploit the moment and publicise his cause.

Throughout the proceedings yesterday, there were carefully choreographed pieces of theatre: Carlos blowing kisses to a French comic, renowned for his anti-Semitic jokes, who had turned up to support him; Carlos shouting abuse against the 'racist, Zionist state of Israel'.

More intriguing, though, is the way the love life of the man who has spent a decade and a half as inmate number 872686/X is already overshadowing proceedings.

For he is being defended by Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, a petite and highly distinguished 58-year-old barrister, who is also his wife. The couple married in La Santé ten years ago, with Carlos handing over a platinum Cartier ring in front of armed guards, before returning to his cell alone.

Indeed, his thoughts at the moment appear to be less concerned with the horrific crimes of which he now stands accused — including causing an explosion on an express train which killed five people — than his 'human right' to consummate his marriage.

While his wife claims that — legally — too many years have passed for him to be tried for the bomb attacks, Carlos has been telling friends of his desire to assuage the 'burning passion' he and wife both hold for each other. He regularly sends the previously married mother-of-three love poems from his cell.

'Ten years is a long time. We have every right to be together and to be free,' said Carlos, during a recent telephone conversation with a close friend from inside La Santé. He has since been placed in solitary confinement for phoning out of the prison without permission.

'My wife has been waiting long enough and we deserve a honeymoon,' said Carlos during the call, adding: 'By the grace of God and wheeler-dealing between France and Venezuela, we'll get one.'

Rescuers and policemen are seen on the site where a bombed car exploded in Rue Marbeuf, near Champs Elysées in Paris on April 22, 1982. The attack was attributed to Carlos the Jackal

Rescuers and policemen are seen on the site where a bombed car exploded in Rue Marbeuf, near Champs Elysées in Paris on April 22, 1982. The attack was attributed to Carlos the Jackal

For her part, Madame Coutant-Peyre says she is determined to remould her husband's image as an unfeeling killing machine into that of warm human being who was 'illegally captured and imprisoned' by 'politically-motivated' police.

'He is not a criminal,' she says, 'but a politician, like Nelson Mandela.' She has pledged to clear his name 'for all time' and see him return to Venezuela as a released 'political prisoner'.

She has her work cut out in pleading his case: for Carlos's reign of terror stretches back to the early 1970s.

The son of Left-wing millionaire Venezuelan lawyer Jose Altagracia Ramirez Navas, who named his three sons Vladimir, Ilich and Lenin after the leader of Russia's Bolshevik revolution, Carlos was a paid-up member of the Communist party by the age of ten, and spent time as an undergraduate at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University, established by the Soviets as a training ground for revolutionaries from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

By 1970, he had volunteered for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — which is thought to have first given him the codename Carlos because of his South American lineage — playing an active role for the group in the north of Jordan during the Black September conflict against King Hussein's forces.

One person died and 63 were wounded in the 1982 Paris attack in front of the office of pro-Iraqi publication Al Watan al Arabi

One person died and 63 were wounded in the 1982 Paris attack in front of the office of pro-Iraqi publication Al Watan al Arabi

He was also allegedly a part of an attempt on the life of Joseph Sieff, the Jewish chairman of Marks & Spencer, in London.

In 1975 — the year he converted from Catholicism to Islam — he killed two unarmed policemen and one of their informers in Paris after they turned up at his hide-out flat on the Left Bank. He shot them dead and fled through a window, leaving his fingerprints on both the discarded gun and a whisky bottle.

In December that year, while still on the run, he became a household name after leading a six-man attack on the Vienna HQ of OPEC, the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries.

Carlos, flamboyantly handsome in sunglasses and a Che Guevara beret, took some 70 people hostage, including 11 government ministers.

Three hostages were killed, but dozens of others ended up being forced to fly with him to Algeria, where a ransom — thought to have been in the region of £10 million was eventually paid for their return home.

Police escort a convoy of prison vans as Carlos the Jackal arrives at the Justice Palace gate in Paris on the first day of his trial for four deadly attacks in France between 1982 and 1983

Police escort a convoy of prison vans as Carlos the Jackal arrives at the Justice Palace gate in Paris on the first day of his trial for four deadly attacks in France between 1982 and 1983

Exact details of the raid are, like so many of Carlos's exploits, still shrouded in mystery, but it launched a legend which soon saw him linked with almost every terrorist 'spectacular'.

In an interview on the eve of the trial with the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, Carlos boasted of being responsible for up to 2,000 deaths.

At least 48 'lethal hits' are confirmed, while victims of his bomb blasts were certainly in the hundreds.
His favoured killing method was a clean shot to the head with a Russian 7.62m Tokarev pistol, although he was also happy to wander into a crowded bar or restaurant brandishing a grenade, remove the pin, toss it among the occupants and then stroll out again.

He spoke of 'International Revolution' during a period when all kinds of revolutionary groups — from militant Eastern Bloc communists to Islamic fundamentalists — were adopted and funded by agencies from each side of the Cold War divide.

Police stand in front of the entrance of the courtroom where Carlos the Jackal appeared for the start of his trial

Police stand in front of the entrance of the courtroom where Carlos the Jackal appeared for the start of his trial

In fact, for all his Marxist posturing, he was happy to take millions of pounds from whichever country or organisation could afford to pay him.

According to his younger brother Vladimir, a 53-year-old engineer who is himself a militant member of the Venezuelan Communist party, Carlos is innocent of murder.

'I am not willing to declare him guilty of something that is considered a heroic act when committed by powerful nations,' he said from his home in Caracus this week.

'While these double moral standards continue to exist, I will not accept that my brother is guilty of anything other than opposing the hegemony [of Western powers].'

He added: 'We were raised to cherish the family above all, and because Ilich was the eldest, he was always my guide, a figure to admire. He was the one who enrolled me in school or told me off, not for smoking, but for doing so without knowing how to.'

Isabelle Coutant-Peyre (centre), lawyer and wife of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, speaks to the media before the start of Carlos' trial

Isabelle Coutant-Peyre (centre), lawyer and wife of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, speaks to the media before the start of Carlos' trial

Carlos's father was determined to school his sons in the ways of Marxism. They were taught at home by Communist tutors and in the 1960s, the family moved to London.

During his criminal career — he headed Interpol's 'most wanted' list for decades — Carlos was pursued by intelligence organisations including MI6, the CIA and France's DGSE. But he used numerous aliases to evade capture, and was renowned as a master of disguise.

Despite the constant steam of atrocities, he found time to forge intimate and lasting relationships with a number of beautiful women, which only added to his swashbuckling, anti-hero image.

According to Magdalena Kopp, who spent 13 years as Carlos's lover and then his first wife: 'He had a way of making women feel they were the other half of the coming revolution.'

Recalling their first meeting in the 1970s, she added: 'Carlos simply took me. He laid his pistol next to me on the bedside table and slept with me. It was a sexual act without any emotion, practically a rape. It was always like that.'

Once among the world's most feared masterminds of terror, the man known as Carlos the Jackal is now a greying convict serving out a life sentence that may get longer after his latest trial

Once among the world's most feared masterminds of terror, the man known as Carlos the Jackal is now a greying convict serving out a life sentence that may get longer after his latest trial

But with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, safe havens were harder to come by. Carlos took refuge in Sudan but was finally captured in the capital Khartoum in 1994 by French secret servicemen who injected him with a sedative, bound and blindfolded him and flew him back to Paris. According to his younger brother — and his legal team — the circumstances of his capture render his trial 'unconstitutional'.

He has rarely expressed regret for his crimes — although yesterday he said he was 'sorry for the victims of the attacks. The killed and wounded were in the wrong place at the wrong time'. Earlier this month he told a French radio station that his main regret was not spending more time with 'my children'.

'I was an absent husband most of the time,' he said in one of the illicit telephone interviews which led to him being placed in solitary confinement.

'I couldn't bring up my children, just the youngest one until the age of five or six, and I regret that.'

He was referring to Elba Rosa Ramirez Kopp, now 25. There were no more children with either his first wife, or his second, a Palestinian named Lana Jarrar. But he is believed to have fathered others secretly with a long list of lovers.

There was a time when Carlos revelled in his image as a lothario. Today, he and his lawyer wife insist that he is the victim of black propaganda.

Commenting on the way her husband was regularly linked to criminal organisations around the world, Madame Coutant-Peyre speaks of attempts to 'discredit' him.

'They said he was a Cuban agent, an agent of the KGB, but he never agreed to depend on a particular state, because he's an independent man. He served the states, but he was not dependent on them. He's not a criminal. He is a political man, a freedom fighter, a revolutionary, and he's been very badly treated.'

Astonishingly, the couple are even pursuing litigation regarding his image rights. They argue that Carlos, a film released last year by director Olivier Assayas and starring the up-and-coming actor Edgar Ramirez in the lead role, gives a false impression of the terrorist's life and mocks his 'revolutionary comrades'.

Not only do they claim the film has denied Carlos a fair trial because juries will be prejudiced by the sensationalism, but they want a share in its royalties.

'I've read the screenplay, there are deliberate falsifications of history and lies,' Carlos said in another of his calls to reporters from prison.

Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal appeared in court in Paris today and claimed: 'My profession is a revolutionary.'

The once notorious Marxist, now 62, is accused of four bomb attacks in the early 1980s that killed 11 people.

He faces at least one life sentence if found guilty at a special anti-terrorist Assizes set up at the Palais de Justice in the French capital.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, pictured in the Palais de Justice today on the first day of his trial

A court sketch of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, in the Palais de Justice this morning on the first day of his trial. He is accused of four deadly attacks in France in 1982 and 1983

Carlos the Jackal arrives at the Paris courthouse today under heavy police guard

Carlos the Jackal arrives at the Paris courthouse today under heavy police guard

Speaking to confirm his real name - Ilich Ramirez Sanchez - Carlos looked relaxed and calm in jeans, sweatshirt, and a blue casual jacket as he smiled and raised his arm in a clenched-fist salute. 

During a number of interventions, Carlos was cheered from the public gallery as he blamed 'Imperialists' for waging war on Muslims, and attacked the 'racist Zionists of Israel'.

Referring to those he had killed, Carlos said he was 'sorry for the victims of the attacks. The killed and wounded were in the wrong place at the wrong time'.

Infamous: Venezuelan Illich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, in a 1970s wanted picture, left, and today, right

Infamous: 62-year-old Venezuelan Carlos the Jackal

Infamous: 62-year-old Venezuelan Carlos the Jackal in a 1970s wanted picture, left, and today, right

Supporters attending the court included a number of Venezuelans who view Carlos as a political prisoner.

As their applause intensified, judges called for order, saying that a courtroom was not a place to hold a political demonstration.

He had arrived in a dock made of bullet-proof glass and with a cage roof under conditions of the tightest security from Paris's La Sante prison, where he is already serving life for the 1975 murders of two French secret servicemen and an informer. 

Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, lawyer and wife of Carlos the Jackal, pictured today. She will form part of his legal representation during the trial

Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, lawyer and wife of Carlos the Jackal, pictured today. She will form part of his legal representation during the trial

Francoise Rudetzki, former head of the SOS attentats (SOS attacks) - an association of victims of guerrilla attacks - arrives at the Paris courthouse

Francoise Rudetzki, former head of the SOS attentats (SOS attacks) - an association of victims of guerrilla attacks - arrives at the Paris courthouse. Carlos, who has recently gone on a hunger strike over his treatment in France's most notorious prison, had been put into isolation for using a phone to speak to journalists about the upcoming trial. After being convicted of the murders in 1997, he claimed he had been 'stitched up' by Israeli secret service, Mossad. The new charges relate to four deadly attacks in France in 1982 and 1983, which killed 11 people and wounded another 100. Prosecutors allege he carried out the attacks in order to force the authorities to release two of his accomplices, including Magdalena Kopp, whom he went on to marry. Today, Carlos's legal team included his third wife, barrister Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, 58, whom the notorious womaniser married in prison a decade ago.

The trial is taking place under tight security - with a dock made of bulletproof glass and a roof cage

The trial is taking place under tight security - with a dock made of bulletproof glass and a roof cage

The scene of a car bomb explosion near Champs Elysées in Paris on April 22, 1982, which left one dead and 63 wounded

The scene of a car bomb explosion near Champs Elysées in Paris on April 22, 1982, which left one dead and 63 wounded

The scene of a car bomb explosion near Champs Elysées in Paris on April 22, 1982, which left one dead and 63 wounded. Carlos has been accused of four terrorist attacks in France during the 1980s

Supporting her husband before the trial, Ms Coutant-Peyre said: 'He is not a criminal but a politician, like Nelson Mandela. He is a freedom fighter - a revolutionary.'

When it was pointed out that Carlos had admitted killing hundreds during his career as a 'super terrorist', Ms Coutant-Peyre said: 'It's very unfortunate for the victims, but there's always a reason in international politics.'

In another interview on the eve of the trial, Carlos admitted being responsible for up to 2,000 deaths.

Jailed: Carlos raised his fist as he appeared in court in Paris on November 28, 2000

Jailed: Carlos raised his fist as he appeared in court in Paris on November 28, 2000

Enlarge High security: La Sante prison in Paris, where Carlos the Jackal has gone on hunger strike

High security: La Sante prison in Paris, where Carlos the Jackal has gone on hunger strike

He told El Nacional, a newspaper in his home country of Venezuela, that 'of the 1,500 to 2,000, there were no more than 200 civilian casualties'.

Carlos said he co-ordinated 'over 100' attacks during his terrorist career, claiming that 'minor errors' had seen innocent people hurt.

He also singled out America and Israel as his 'main imperialist enemies'.

Ms Coutant-Peyre is convinced she can get Carlos out of his 'filthy dungeon' and see him returned home to Venezuela as a pardoned political prisoner.

Carlos, who got his nickname from the Frederick Forsyth novel The Day Of The Jackal, first made international headlines in 1975 when he led a commando raid on an Opec oil cartel meeting in Vienna.

The raid led to three deaths, with Carlos then flying to Algeria with the dozens of hostages and ending up extracting a ransom of around £10million.

Despite his confidence, Carlos is now a pale shadow of the swashbuckling young 'revolutionary Marxist' who regularly used to appear in a Che Guevara beret and sunglasses.

Six terrorists with sub-machine guns, who took over the Opec HQ in 1975 and held 32 people hostage, board a DC9 aircraft they had commanded to fly them to Algeria. Carlos is pictured far left

Six terrorists with sub-machine guns, who took over the Opec HQ in 1975 and held 32 people hostage, board a DC9 aircraft after ordering the crew to fly them to Algeria. Carlos is pictured far left

Carlos, who converted from Catholicism to Islam in 1975, denies all the current charges which he is facing.

If convicted, he would have to serve a maximum penalty of life, with a minimum of 22 years jail.

In a letter to the Ministry of Justice, Carlos's lawyer Francis Vuillemin said his hunger strike was in response to 'the deliberate violation of my client's rights by the prison administration'.

Mr Vuillemin said a computer which Carlos had been able to use to prepare his defence case had been 'dismantled and thrown in pieces into a cardboard box, with no possibility of it being set up in his isolation cell'.

The trial, which is expected to last for a month, continues.


1949: Born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez in Caracas, Venezuela.

1959: Joins the youth movement of the national communist party.

1966: Reportedly spends the summer at a guerrilla warfare school run by the Cuban General Intelligence Directorate.  

1970: Expelled from University in Moscow, Carlos first volunteers for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and is sent to a training camp staffed by Iraqi military.

1971: Plays an active role for the PFLP in the north of Jordan during the Black September conflict.

1973: Failed assassination attempt on vice president of the British Zionist Federation, Joseph Sieff.
Admits responsibility for a failed bomb attack in London, and 3 car bomb attacks in France. Claims to be the grenade thrower in a Parisian restaurant that kills 2 and injures 30.

1975: Raid on Opec HQ in Vienna, killing three. Two failed rocket-propelled grenade attacks on planes at Orly airport, Paris. Escapes apprehension in Paris after shooting two detectives, and escapes to Beirut.

1976: Forms the Organisation of Arab Armed Struggle. Forms a contact with  East Germany’s Stasi.

1982: Failed rocket attack on a French nuclear power station.

1983: Attacks the Maison de France in West Berlin, killing one and injuring 22. Claims responsibility for bombs on two TGV trains, killing four and injuring dozens.

1994: Charged with the murders of two policemen and a PFLP-guerrilla-turned-French informant. Sent to prison in Paris.

1997: Found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

2003: Publishes a book, Revolutionary Islam, from his jail cell.  Voices support for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.




Shredded Stasi files have been pieced together to reveal how global terrorist Carlos the Jackal was supplied with weapons and given sanctuary by the East German secret police.

While the West was hunting the man responsible for atrocities all over the world, the Communist regime in Berlin was busy handing him the means to carry out more.

But not only did the Stasi offer him sanctuary and supplies, it ensured the killer was feted and indulged like a dignitary from the Soviet Kremlin.


Venezuelan terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez known as Carlos the Jackal at a court house in Paris

Then and now: Carlos the Jackal, real name Illich Ramirez Sanchez as he was in 1970 (left) and in 2006 (right). Recent evidence has shown widespread support for the man dubbed the most wanted terrorist until 9/11

While it has long been known that he used the former Communist East German state as a refuge, paperwork obtained by the German news magazine Focus reveals just how extensive the support for him was.

Carlos – born Illich Ramirez Sanchez and responsible for at least 80 deaths in global terror outrages – was given a staff of 75 to plot further deaths and provided with guns, explosives and an archive of forged papers.

He was also provided with a network of safe houses and accomplices who included nursing sisters, lecturers, actors, union officials, apprentices and at least one physician

Enlarge Six terrorists with sub-machine guns who took over the OPEC headquarters in 1975 and held 32 people hostage board a DC9 aircraft they had commanded to fly them to Algeria. Carlos is pictured far left

Six terrorists with sub-machine guns who took over the OPEC headquarters in 1975 and held 32 people hostage board a DC9 aircraft they had commanded to fly them to Algeria. Carlos is pictured far left

The Stasi even repaired his cars for him and sent staff to ensure that his telephones were secure at all times.

Carlos, his partner and sidekick, the West German terrorist Johannes Weinrich, were treated like visiting Politburo members from Moscow.

The paperwork, which has been reassembled by a computer programme, shows at least ten of his East German entourage were privy to the terror plans he formulated while in the country.

Carlos, a Venezuelan, loved his image as a renegade and an outlaw so much that it was recorded in the files how he liked to strut around the Alexanderplatz – one of the main squares in the east of the divided city – with an automatic weapon in a holster strapped to his leg.

The relationship with the Stasi was so close that his handlers knew the times and places of planned attacks and this was information shared with the KGB in Moscow, the files reveal.East German officials embraced Carlos because they viewed him as an enemy of capitalism who would do much of their dirty work for them.

Enlarge copy of the handwritten will of

Black Grape album cover shows Carlos the Jackal

Carlos the Jackal's handwritten will (left) of 1998 asking Islamic fighters to avenge him by executing Americans and Zionists should he die. Although a terrorist responsible for many deaths he is seen as a cultural icon by some (right) as on the cover of the Black Grape album 'It's Great When You're Straight'

It was the same kind of patronage the regime showed towards the terrorists of the Bader-Meinhoff gang and the Red Army Faction, members of both groups being given succour and shelter in the GDR.

A few days before the end of November 1981, Soviet leader Leonid Breznhev planned a visit to the then West German capital Bonn. ‘Please ensure no actions from Carlos during this visit,’ requested the KGB. Carlos was warned off even though he was in fact planning an attack in the West.

He was born to a Leninist father, who gave him Lenin’s second name Illich. He became a supporter of the Palestinian cause in the early 1970s.

He was blamed for a failed attempt to assassinate Joseph Sieff, the Jewish head of Marks & Spencer, in London in 1973 and also took part in two failed rocket-propelled grenade attacks on El Al aircraft at Orly Airport in Paris in 1975.

Later that year, he fled to Beirut, where he helped plan the attack on the headquarters of OPEC in Vienna. Three hostages died in the outrage.

It was in the late 70s that he developed links with the Stasi. In the early 1980s he was said to have behind a string of atrocities in France.

Tracked down to Sudan in 1994, he was convicted of murder in France in 1997 and is now serving a life sentence.


Long live the revolution!: Carlos the Jackal, 62, has been sentenced to a second life term

Long live the revolution!: Carlos the Jackal, 62, has been sentenced to a second life term

Carlos the Jackal will spend the rest of his life in prison after being handed a second life sentence.

The once notorious international terrorist is already serving time in a high security jail in Paris for numerous crimes carried out some 30 years ago.

Now the 62-year-old’s trial for a series of bombings in France which killed 11 people and maimed dozens of others during the 1980s has come to an end.

Judges sitting on a special anti-terrorist Assizes bench set up at the Palais de Justice in the French capital ruled he should serve a second life sentence 'with no possibility of parole for 18 years'.

It followed Carlos, whose real name is Carlos Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, ending a five hour self-justificatory monologue with the words: 'Long live the revolution!'.

Reading from a notebook, he added: 'I am a living archive. Most of the people like me are dead.'

He also praised his old sponsor, the late Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, saying: 'This man did more than all the revolutionaries.'

Carlos had argued that all of the atrocities were on behalf of 'decent' political causes, including 'Marxist revolution' and 'Palestinian liberation'.

But prosecutor Olivier Bray said Carlos was in fact a profit-motivated criminal who always aimed to 'kill the maximum number of people with the minimum of risk.'He had called for the maximum available sentence to be handed down to the Venezuelan, who became infamous in 1975 when his commando group took numerous hostages from a meeting of the OPEC oil organisation in Vienna.

Mr Bray said the 1982 and 1983 bomb attacks in major cities including Paris were not 'targeted political atrocities' but 'blind' mass-murders. All were carried as part of a campaign by Carlos to force the authorities to release two of his accomplices, including Magdalena Kopp, whom he went on to marry.

The court heard how a letter carrying Carlos's fingerprints had been received by the then French government threatening 'war' if the pair were not released within 30 days.

The Jackal howls: Carlos did not go quietly, with a five-hour rant about his revolutionary pedigree

The Jackal howls: Carlos did not go quietly, with a five-hour rant about his revolutionary pedigree

Literary figure: An artist's impression of Carlos - who earned his nickname from the Frederick Forsyth novel The Day Of The Jackal - sitting in court during the sentencing, notepad in hand

Literary figure: An artist's impression of Carlos - who earned his nickname from the Frederick Forsyth novel The Day Of The Jackal - sitting in court during the sentencing, notepad in hand

Referring to Carlos, Mr Bray said: 'It is the duty of democracies to never give up on arresting criminals behind attacks like this, and bringing them to justice.'

Among Carlos’s legal team was his third wife, barrister Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, 58, whom the notorious womaniser married in prison a decade ago.

In an interview on the eve of the trial, Carlos admitted being responsible for up to 2,000 deaths. He told El Nacional, a newspaper in his home country of Venezuela, that 'of the 1,500 to 2,000, there were no more than 200 civilian casualties'.

Carlos said he co-ordinated 'over 100' attacks during his terrorist career, claiming that 'minor errors' had seen innocent people hurt.

He also singled out America and Israel as his 'main imperialist enemies'.

Ms Coutant-Peyre was convinced she could get Carlos out of his 'filthy dungeon' and see him returned home to Venezuela as a pardoned political prisoner.

Enlarge The art of justice: The court artist in France created a character sketch of the major players in the case; barrister, defendant, judge and Jackal

The art of justice: The court artist in France created a character sketch of the major players in the case; barrister, defendant, judge and Jackal. Carlos, who got his nickname from the Frederick Forsyth novel The Day Of The Jackal, is now a pale shadow of the swashbuckling young 'revolutionary Marxist' who regularly used to appear in a Che Guevara beret and sunglasses. Carlos, who converted from Catholicism to Islam in 1975, denied all the latest charges. But his life sentence means he will almost certainly spend the rest of his days in jail.




Sunday, July 28, 2013

The United States Is Awash in Public Stupidity, and Critical Thought Is Under Assault


The United States Is Awash in Public Stupidity, and Critical Thought Is Under Assault

Once upon a time, there was a Kingdom of Justice and Light. The kings served there in periods of four years and insisted on being called “Mr. President.” That was true until the year 2000, when the son of a former king was chosen to office by the voice of a single Justice who had been appointed by his father. From that moment onwards, it had become pretty close to a formal kingdom. Yet, they didn’t define themselves as such; they claimed that they were the world’s most powerful country, and prided themselves on their democracy. They weren’t exactly a democracy of the people; they left such a title to backward countries like North Korea. They were a democracy of corporations. These organizations were recognized by the kingdom as judicial persons, and were those guiding and funding the government’s behavior. Many of these soulless persons were rather innocent, busying themselves in the science of preparation of greasy hamburgers and similarly useless tasks. However, the largest and most powerful among them made money out of war. For over half a century they had run amok around the globe attacking any target they knew would not react. This created jobs at home and kept the powerful military busy and happy. Once upon a time, there was a Kingdom of Justice and Light; of course, it wasn’t exactly a kingdom, justice was reserved to corporations, and the only lights were the interrogation lamps constantly aimed at the people by their paranoiac, illegitimate government. Once upon a time, this looked like an unbeatable scheme; then, things changed.

The media and political class are openly trying to rehabilitate this grotesque war criminal’s image, while the population barely notices.

By Henry A. Giroux

America has become amnesiac – a country in which forms of historical, political, and moral forgetting are not only willfully practiced but celebrated. The United States has degenerated into a social order that is awash in public stupidity and views critical thought as both a liability and a threat.

Not only is this obvious in the presence of a celebrity culture that embraces the banal and idiotic, but also in the prevailing discourses and policies of a range of politicians and anti-public intellectuals who believe that the legacy of the Enlightenment needs to be reversed.

Manipulating Intelligence and Lying to Justify War

In violation of the separation of powers under the Constitution and his subsequent obligation to share intelligence with the Congress, George Walker Bush, while serving as President of the United States of America, in preparing for the invasion of Iraq, did withhold intelligence from the Congress, by refusing to provide Congress with the full intelligence picture that he was being given, by redacting information by, for example, removing portions of reports such as the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing, and actively manipulating the intelligence on Iraq’s alleged weapons programs by pressuring the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies to provide intelligence such that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” as revealed in the “Downing Street Memo.” To this end, President George Walker Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld created the Office of Special Plans inside the Pentagon to override existing intelligence reports by providing unreliable evidence that supported the claim that Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent threat to the United States of America. By justifying the invasion of Iraq with false and misleading statements linking Iraq to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and falsely asserting that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program for which it was importing aluminum tubes and uranium, these assertions being either false, or based on “fixed” intelligence, with the intent to misinform the people and their representatives in Congress in order to gain their support for invading Iraq, denying both the people and their representatives in Congress the right to make an informed choice, George Walker Bush, President of the United States, did commit and was guilty of high crimes against the United States of America.

Forgotten Terror – The DC Sniper, Another Government False Flag.

So Obvious any Moron Would Notice, Special Forces/CIA Hit Team Plays “DC Terrorist”

DC Sniper, “Homeless Man” Who Vacationed Often and Very Expensively. Back during the Bush era, selling terrorism was a big business, that and silencing people. One of the government operations stumbled over was the famed “DC Sniper,” forgotten by all. We will begin with the impossible.Williams was a combat vet, fought in Desert Storm, 16 successful years in the military, real records of special schools, records the army lies about when asked but doesn’t disprove.

This man was intelligent, a success, a perfect soldier, highly fit, top expert in martial arts, record of leadership ability, heading to a fat retirement and then he goes off the map and begins a life of “cover and deception,” a typical spy, a modern day “Michael Weston,” hardly a serial killer.

Movie star good looks, Armani at the homeless shelter, there isn’t a single word of truth thus far heard about him until now.

This is someone with access to top circles in DC, now, we are told, dead in the quickest execution in history, all arranged through his own wife, if you can imagine the coincidence.

Oh, you will love this film and my deep appreciation and respect to the very real journalist who put it all together.  To begin, we get the “short and sweet.”


Here is what Wikipedia tells us, for those who have forgotten:

The Beltway sniper attacks took place during three weeks in October 2002 in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Ten people were killed and three other victims were critically injured in several locations throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area and along Interstate 95 in Virginia. It was widely speculated that a single sniper was using the Capital Beltway for travel, possibly in a white van or truck.

It was later learned that the rampage was perpetrated by one man, John Allen Muhammad, and one minor, Lee Boyd Malvo, driving a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice sedan, and had apparently begun the month before with murders and robbery in Louisiana and Alabama, which had resulted in three of the deaths.[1]

In September 2003, Muhammad was sentenced to death. One month later, Boyd Malvo was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. On November 10, 2009, Muhammad was executed by lethal injection.

Politicians such as Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich along with talking heads such as Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Anne Coulter are not the problem, they are symptomatic of a much more disturbing assault on critical thought, if not rational thinking itself.  Under a neoliberal regime, the language of authority, power and command is divorced from ethics, social responsibility, critical analysis and social costs.

These anti-public intellectuals are part of a disimagination machine that solidifies the power of the rich and the structures of the military-industrial-surveillance-academic complex by presenting the ideologies, institutions and relations of the powerful as commonsense.[1] [2] For instance, the historical legacies of resistance to racism, militarism, privatization and panoptical surveillance have long been forgotten and made invisible in the current assumption that Americans now live in a democratic, post-racial society. The cheerleaders for neoliberalism work hard to  normalize dominant institutions and relations of power through a vocabulary and public pedagogy that create market-driven subjects, modes of consciousness, and ways of understanding the world that promote accommodation, quietism and passivity.  Social solidarities are torn apart, furthering the retreat into orbits of the private that undermine those spaces that nurture non-commodified knowledge, values, critical exchange and civic literacy. The pedagogy of authoritarianism is alive and well in the United States, and its repression of public memory takes place not only through the screen culture and institutional apparatuses of conformity, but is also reproduced through a culture of fear and a carceral state that imprisons more people than any other country in the world.[2] [3] What many commentators have missed in the ongoing attack on Edward Snowden is not that he uncovered information that made clear how corrupt and intrusive the American government has become – how willing it is to engage in vast crimes against the American public. His real “crime” is that he demonstrated how knowledge can be used to empower people, to get them to think as critically engaged citizens rather than assume that knowledge and education are merely about the learning of skills – a reductive concept that substitutes training for education and reinforces the flight from reason and the goose-stepping reflexes of an authoritarian mindset.[3] [4]

Since the late1970s, there has been an intensification in the United States, Canada and Europe of neoliberal modes of governance, ideology and policies – a historical period in which the foundations for democratic public spheres have been dismantled. Schools, public radio, the media and other critical cultural apparatuses have been under siege, viewed as dangerous to a market-driven society that considers critical thought, dialogue, and civic engagement a threat to its basic values, ideologies, and structures of power. This was the beginning of an historical era in which the discourse of democracy, public values, and the common good came crashing to the ground. Margaret Thatcher in Britain and soon after Ronald Reagan in the United States – both hard-line advocates of market fundamentalism – announced that there was no such thing as society and that government was the problem not the solution. Democracy and the political process were all but sacrificed to the power of corporations and the emerging financial service industries, just as hope was appropriated as an advertisement for the whitewashed world, a culture whose capacity to critique oppressive social practices was greatly diminished. Large social movements fragmented into isolated pockets of resistance mostly organized around a form of identity politics that largely ignored a much-needed conversation about the attack on the social and the broader issues affecting society such as the growing inequality in wealth, power and income.

What is particularly new is the way in which young people have been increasingly denied a significant place in an already weakened social contract and the degree to which they are absent from how many countries now define the future. Youth are no longer the place where society reveals its dreams. Instead, youth are becoming the site of society’s nightmares. Within neoliberal narratives, youth are mostly defined as a consumer market, a drain on the economy, or stand for trouble.[4] [5] Young people increasingly have become subject to an oppressive disciplinary machine that teaches them to define citizenship through the exchange practices of the market and to follow orders and toe the line in the face of oppressive forms of authority. They are caught in a society in which almost every aspect of their lives is shaped by the dual forces of the market and a growing police state. The message is clear: Buy/ sell/ or be punished. Mostly out of step, young people, especially poor minorities and low-income whites, are increasingly inscribed within a machinery of dead knowledge, social relations and values in which there is an attempt to render them voiceless and invisible.

How young people are represented betrays a great deal about what is increasingly new about the economic, social, cultural and political constitution of American society and its growing disinvestment in young people, the social state and democracy itself.[5] [6]  The structures of neoliberal violence have put the vocabulary of democracy on life support, and one consequence is that subjectivity and education are no longer the lifelines of critical forms of individual and social agency.  The promises of modernity regarding progress, freedom and hope have not been eliminated; they have been reconfigured, stripped of their emancipatory potential and relegated to the logic of a savage market instrumentality. Modernity has reneged on its promise to young people to provide social mobility, stability and collective security. Long-term planning and the institutional structures that support them are now relegated to the imperatives of privatization, deregulation, flexibility and short-term profits. Social bonds have given way under the collapse of social protections and the attack on the welfare state. Moreover, all solutions to socially produced problems are now relegated to the mantra of individual solutions.[6] [7]

Public problems collapse into the limited and depoliticized register of private issues. Individual interests now trump any consideration of the good of society just as all problems are ultimately laid at the door of the solitary individual, whose fate is shaped by forces far beyond his or her capacity for personal responsibility. Under neoliberalism everyone has to negotiate their fate alone, bearing full responsibility for problems that are often not of their own doing. The implications politically, economically and socially for young people are disastrous and are contributing to the emergence of a generation of young people who will occupy a space of social abandonment and terminal exclusion. Job insecurity, debt servitude, poverty, incarceration and a growing network of real and symbolic violence have entrapped too many young people in a future that portends zero opportunities and zero hopes. This is a generation that has become the new register for disposability, redundancy, and new levels of surveillance and control.

The severity and consequences of this shift in modernity under neoliberalism among youth is evident in the fact that this is the first generation in which the “plight of the outcast may stretch to embrace a whole generation.”[7][8] Zygmunt Bauman argues that today’s youth have been “cast in a condition of liminal drift, with no way of knowing whether it is transitory or permanent.”[8] [9] That is, the generation of youth in the early 21st century has no way of grasping if they will ever “be free from the gnawing sense of the transience, indefiniteness, and provisional nature of any settlement.”[9] [10]   Neoliberal violence produced in part through a massive shift in wealth to the upper 1%, growing inequality, the reign of the financial service industries, the closing down of educational opportunities, and the stripping of social protections from those marginalized by race and class has produced a generation without jobs, an independent life and even the most minimal social benefits.

Youth no longer inhabit the privileged space, however compromised, that was offered to previous generations.  They now occupy a neoliberal notion of temporality of dead time and zones of abandonment and terminal exclusion marked by a loss of faith in progress and a belief in those apocalyptic narratives in which the future appears indeterminate, bleak and insecure. Progressive visions pale and are smashed next to the normalization of market-driven government policies that wipe out pensions, eliminate quality health care, punish unions, demonize public servants, raise college tuition, and produce a harsh world of joblessness – all the while giving billions and “huge bonuses, instead of prison sentences . . . to those bankers and investment brokers who were responsible for the 2008 meltdown of the economy and the loss of homes for millions of Americans.”[10] [11] Students, in particular, now find themselves in a world in which heightened expectations have been replaced by dashed hopes. The promises  of higher education and previously enviable credentials have turned into the swindle of fulfillment as, “For the first time in living memory, the whole class of graduates faces a future of crushing debt, and a high probability, almost the certainty, of ad hoc, temporary, insecure and part-time work and unpaid ‘trainee’ pseudo-jobs deceitfully rebranded as ‘practices’ – all considerably below the skills they have acquired and eons below the level of their expectations.” [11] [12]

What has changed about an entire generation of young people includes not only neoliberal society’s disinvestment in youth and the lasting fate of downward mobility, but also the fact that youth live in a commercially carpet-bombed and commodified environment that is unlike anything experienced by those of previous generations.  Nothing has prepared this generation for the inhospitable and savage new world of commodification, privatization, joblessness, frustrated hopes and stillborn projects. [12] [13] Commercials provide the primary content for their dreams, relations to others, identities and sense of agency. There appears to be no space outside the panoptican of commercial barbarism and casino capitalism.  The present generation has been born into a throwaway society of consumers in which both goods and young people are increasingly objectified and disposable.  Young people now reside in a world in which there are few public spheres or social spaces autonomous from the reach of the market, warfare state, debtfare, and sprawling tentacles of what is ominously called the Department of Homeland Security.

The structures of neoliberal modernity do more than disinvest in young people and commodify them, they also transform the protected space of childhood into a zone of disciplinary exclusion and cruelty, especially for those young people further marginalized by race and class who now inhabit a social landscape in which they are increasingly disparaged as flawed consumers or pathologized others. With no adequate role to play as consumers, many youth are now considered disposable, forced to inhabit “zones of social abandonment” extending from homeless shelters and bad schools to bulging detention centers and prisons.[13] [14]  In the midst of the rise of the punishing state, the circuits of state repression, surveillance, and disposability increasingly “link the fate of blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, poor whites, and Asian Americans” who are now caught in a governing-through-crime-youth complex, which increasingly serves as a default solution to major social problems.[14] [15] As Michael Hart and Antonio Negri point out, young people live in a society in which every institution becomes an “inspection regime” –  recording, watching, gathering information and storing data.[15] [16] Complementing these regimes is the shadow of the prison, which is no longer separated from society as an institution of total surveillance. Instead, “total surveillance is increasingly the general condition of society as a whole. ‘The prison,’ ” Michel Foucault notes, “begins well before its doors. It begins as soon as you leave your house – and even before.”[16] [17]

Everyone is Now a Potential Terrorist

At the start of the second decade of the 21st century, young people all over the world are demonstrating against a variety of issues ranging from economic injustice and massive inequality to drastic cuts in education and public services. These demonstrations have and currently are being met with state-sanctioned violence and an almost pathological refusal to hear their demands.  More specifically, in the United States the state monopoly on the use of violence has intensified since the 1980s, and in the process, has been increasingly directed against young people, low-income whites, poor minorities, immigrants, and women. As the welfare state is hollowed out, a culture of compassion is replaced by a culture of violence, cruelty and disposability. Collective insurance policies and social protections have given way to the forces of economic deregulation, the transformation of the welfare state into punitive workfare programs, the privatization of public goods and an appeal to individual accountability as a substitute for social responsibility.

Under the notion that unregulated market-driven values and relations should shape every domain of human life, the business model of governance has eviscerated any viable notion of social responsibility while furthering the criminalization of social problems and cutbacks in basic social services, especially for the poor, young people and the elderly.[17] [18] Within the existing neoliberal historical conjuncture, there is a merging of violence and governance and the systemic disinvestment in and breakdown of institutions and public spheres that have provided the minimal conditions for democracy. This becomes obvious in the emergence of a surveillance state in which the social media not only become new platforms for the invasion of privacy, but further legitimate a culture in which monitoring functions are viewed as benign while the state-sponsored society of hyper-fear increasingly defines everyone as either a snitch or a terrorist. Everyone, especially minorities of race and ethnicity, now live under a surveillance panoptican in which “living under constant surveillance means living as criminals.”[18] [19]

As young people make diverse claims on the promise of a radical democracy, articulating what a fair and just world might be, they are increasingly met with forms of physical, ideological and structural violence.  Abandoned by the existing political system, young people in Oakland, California, New York City, Quebec and numerous other cities throughout the globe have placed their bodies on the line, protesting peacefully while trying to produce a new language, politics, imagine long-term institutions, and support notions of “community that manifest the values of equality and mutual respect that they see missing in a world that is structured by neoliberal principles.”[19] [20] In Quebec, in spite of police violence and threats, thousands of students demonstrated for months against a former right-wing government that wanted to raise tuition and cut social protections. These demonstrations are continuing in a variety of countries throughout the globe and embrace an investment in a new understanding of the commons as a shared space of knowledge, debate, exchange and participation.

Such movements, however diverse, are not simply about addressing current injustices and reclaiming space but also about producing new ideas, generating a new conversation and introducing a new political language. Rejecting the notion that democracy and markets are the same, young people are calling for an end to the poverty, grotesque levels of economic inequality, the suppression of dissent and the permanent war state.  They refuse to be defined exclusively as consumers rather than as workers, and they reject the notion that the only interests that matter are monetary. They also oppose those market-driven values and practices aimed at both creating radically individualized subjects and undermining those public spheres that create bonds of solidarity that reinforce a commitment to the common good. And these movements all refuse the notion that financialization defines the only acceptable definition of exchange, one that is based exclusively on the reductionist notion of buying and selling.

Resistance and the Politics of the Historical Conjuncture

Marginalized youth, workers, artists and others are raising serious questions about the violence of inequality and the social order that legitimates it. They are calling for a redistribution of wealth and power – not within the old system, but in a new one in which democracy becomes more than a slogan or a legitimation for authoritarianism and state violence.  As Stanley Aronowitz and Angela Davis, among others, have argued, the fight for education and justice is inseparable from the struggle for economic equality, human dignity and security, and the challenge of developing American institutions along genuinely democratic lines.[20] [21]  Today, there is a new focus on public values, the need for broad-based movements for solidarity, and alternative conceptions of politics, democracy and justice.

All of these issues are important, but what must be addressed in the most immediate sense is the threat that the emerging police state in the United States poses not to just the young protesters occupying a number of American cities, but also the threat it poses to democracy itself. This threat is being exacerbated as a result of the merging of a war-like mentality and neoliberal mode of discipline and education in which it becomes difficult to reclaim the language of obligation, social responsibility and civic engagement.[21] [22] Everywhere we look we see the encroaching shadow of the police state.  The government now requisitions the publics’ telephone records and sifts through its emails. It labels whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden as traitors, even though they have exposed the corruption, lawlessness and host of antidemocratic practices engaged in by established governments.  Police can take DNA samples of all people arrested of a crime, whether they are proven guilty or not.  The United States is incarcerating people in record numbers, imprisoning over 2.3 million inmates while “6 million people at any one time [are] under carceral supervision – more than were in Stalin’s Gulag.”[22] [23]

While there has been considerable coverage in the progressive media given to the violence that was waged against the Occupy movement and other protesters, I want to build on these analyses by arguing that it is important to situate such violence within a broader set of categories that enables a critical understanding of not only the underlying social, economic and political forces at work in such assaults, but also allows us to reflect critically on the distinctiveness of the current historical period in which they are taking place. For example, it is difficult to address such state-sponsored violence against young people without analyzing the devolution of the social state and the corresponding rise of the warfare and punishing state.

Stuart Hall’s reworking of Gramsci’s notion of conjuncture is important here because it provides both an opening into the forces shaping a particular historical moment while allowing for a merging of theory and strategy.[23] [24]  Conjuncture in this case refers to a period in which different elements of society come together to produce a unique fusion of the economic, social, political, ideological and cultural in a relative settlement that becomes hegemonic in defining reality. That ruptural unity is today marked by a neoliberal conjuncture.  In this particular historical moment, the notion of conjuncture helps us to address theoretically how youth protests are largely related to a historically specific neoliberal project that promotes vast inequalities in income and wealth, creates the student-loan-debt bomb, eliminates much-needed social programs, eviscerates the social wage, and privileges profits and commodities over people.

Within the United States especially, the often violent response to nonviolent forms of youth protests must also be analyzed within the framework of a mammoth military-industrial state and its commitment to war and the militarization of the entire society.[24] [25] The merging of the military-industrial complex, surveillance state and unbridled corporate power points to the need for strategies that address what is specific about the current warfare and surveillance state and the neoliberal project and how different interests, modes of power, social relations, public pedagogies and economic configurations come together to shape its politics. Such a conjuncture is invaluable politically in that it provides a theoretical opening for making the practices of the warfare state and the neoliberal revolution visible in order “to give the resistance to its onward march, content, focus and a cutting edge.”[25] [26] It also points to the conceptual power of making clear that history remains an open horizon that cannot be dismissed through appeals to the end of history or end of ideology.[26] [27] It is precisely through the indeterminate nature of history that resistance becomes possible and politics refuses any guarantees and remains open.

I want to argue that the current historical moment or what Stuart Hall calls the “long march of the Neoliberal Revolution,”[27] [28] has to be understood in terms of the growing forms of violence that it deploys and reinforces. Such antidemocratic pressures and their relationship to the rising protests of young people in the United States and abroad are evident in the crisis that has emerged through the merging of governance and violence, the growth of the punishing state, and the persistent development of what has been described by Alex Honneth as “a failed sociality.”[28] [29]

The United States has become addicted to violence, and this dependency is fueled increasingly by its willingness to wage war at home and abroad.  War in this instance is not merely the outgrowth of polices designed to protect the security and well-being of the United States. It is also, as C. Wright Mills pointed out, part of a “military metaphysics” – a complex of forces that includes corporations, defense industries, politicians, financial institutions and universities.[29][30] War provides jobs, profits, political payoffs, research funds, and forms of political and economic power that reach into every aspect of society. War is also one of the nation’s most honored virtues, and its militaristic values now bear down on almost every aspect of American life.[30] [31]  As modern society is formed against the backdrop of a permanent war zone, a carceral state and hyper-militarism, the social stature of the military and soldiers has risen. As Michael Hardt and Tony Negri have pointed out, “In the United States, rising esteem for the military in uniform corresponds to the growing militarization of the society as a whole. All of this despite repeated revelations of the illegality and immorality of the military’s own incarceration systems, from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, whose systematic practices border on if not actually constitute torture.”[31] [32]The state of exception in the United States, in particular, has become permanent and promises no end. War has become a mode of sovereignty and rule, eroding the distinction between war and peace. Increasingly fed by a moral and political hysteria, warlike values produce and endorse shared fears as the primary register of social relations.

The war on terror, rebranded under Obama as the “Overseas Contingency Operation,” has morphed into war on democracy. Everyone is now considered a potential terrorist, providing a rational for both the government and private corporations to spy on anybody, regardless of whether they have committed a crime.  Surveillance is supplemented by a growing domestic army of baton-wielding police forces who are now being supplied with the latest military equipment. Military technologies such as Drones, SWAT vehicles and machine-gun-equipped armored trucks once used exclusively in high-intensity war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan are now being supplied to police departments across the nation and not surprisingly “the increase in such weapons is matched by training local police in war zone tactics and strategies.”[32] [33]  The domestic war against “terrorists” [code for young protesters] provides new opportunities for major defense contractors and corporations who "are becoming more a part of our domestic lives."[33][34]  As Glenn Greenwald points out, "Arming domestic police forces with paramilitary weaponry will ensure their systematic use even in the absence of a terrorist attack on US soil; they will simply find other, increasingly permissive uses for those weapons."[34] [35]Of course, the new domestic paramilitary forces will also undermine free speech and dissent with the threat of force while simultaneously threatening core civil liberties, rights and civic responsibilities. 

From the Archive: Al-Qaeda History


THE 2001 SEPTEMBER 11th ATTACKS: Rescuers are dwarfed by the size of the rubble and debris of where the World Trade Center once stood, one day after the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001. (RUTH FREMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Given that "by age 23, almost a third of Americans are arrested for a crime," it becomes clear that in the new militarized state young people, especially poor minorities, are viewed as predators, a threat to corporate governance, and are treated as disposable populations.[35] [36] This siege mentality will be reinforced by the merging of private and corporate intelligence and surveillance agencies, and the violence it produces will increase as will the growth of a punishment state that acts with impunity. Too much of this violence is reminiscent of the violence used against civil rights demonstrators by the forces of Jim Crow in the 1950s and 1960s.[36] [37]

Yet, there is more at work here than the prevalence of armed knowledge and a militarized discourse, there is also the emergence of a militarized society that now organizes itself "for the production of violence."[37] [38]  A society in which "the range of acceptable opinion inevitably shrinks."[38] [39] But the prevailing move in American society to a permanent war status does more than promote a set of unifying symbols that embrace a survival of the fittest ethic, promoting conformity over dissent, the strong over the weak, and fear over responsibility, it also gives rise to what David Graeber has called a "language of command" in which violence becomes the most important element of power and mediating force in shaping social relationships.[39] [40]

Permanent War and the Public Pedagogy of Hyper-Violence

As a mode of public pedagogy, a state of permanent war needs willing subjects to abide by its values, ideology, and narratives of fear and violence.  Such legitimation is largely provided through a market-driven culture addicted to the production of consumerism, militarism and organized violence, largely circulated through various registers of popular culture that extend from high fashion and Hollywood movies to the creation of violent video games and music concerts sponsored by the Pentagon. The market-driven spectacle of war demands a culture of conformity, quiet intellectuals and a largely passive republic of consumers.  There is also a need for subjects who find intense pleasure in commodification of violence and a culture of cruelty. Under neoliberalism, culture appears to have largely abandoned its role as a site of critique.  Very little appears to escape the infantilizing and moral vacuity of the market. For instance, the architecture of war and violence is now matched by a barrage of goods parading as fashion. For instance, in light of the recent NSA and PRISM spying revelations in the United States, The New York Times ran a story on a new line of fashion with the byline: "Stealth Wear Aims to Make a Tech Statement."[40] [41]

As the pleasure principle is unconstrained by a moral compass based on a respect for others, it is increasingly shaped by the need for intense excitement and a never-ending flood of heightened sensations. Marked by a virulent notion of hardness and aggressive masculinity, a culture of violence has become commonplace in a society in which pain, humiliation and abuse are condensed into digestible spectacles endlessly circulated through extreme sports, reality TV, video games, YouTube postings, and proliferating forms of the new and old media. But the ideology of hardness, and the economy of pleasure it justifies are also present in the material relations of power that have intensified since the Reagan presidency, when a shift in government policies first took place and set the stage for the emergence of unchecked torture and state violence under the Bush-Cheney regime. Conservative and liberal politicians alike now spend millions waging wars around the globe, funding the largest military state in the world, providing huge tax benefits to the ultrarich and major corporations, and all the while draining public coffers, increasing the scale of human poverty and misery, and eliminating all viable public spheres - whether they be the social state, public schools, public transportation or any other aspect of a formative culture that addresses the needs of the common good.

State violence, particularly the use of torture, abductions, and targeted assassinations are now justified as part of a state of exception in which a "political culture of hyper-punitiveness"[41] [42] has become normalized. Revealing itself in a blatant display of unbridled arrogance and power, it is unchecked by any sense of either conscience or morality. How else to explain the right-wing billionaire, Charles Koch, insisting that the best way to help the poor is to get rid of the minimum wage. In response, journalist Rod Bastanmehr points out that "Koch didn't acknowledge the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, but he did make sure to show off his fun new roll of $100-bill toilet paper, which was a real treat for folks everywhere."[42] [43] It gets worse. Ray Canterbury, a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates insisted that "students could be forced into labor in exchange for food."[43] [44]In other words, students could clean toilets, do janitorial work or other menial chores in order to pay for their free school breakfast and lunch programs.  In Maine, Rep. Bruce Bickford (R) has argued that the state should do away with child labor laws. His rationale speaks for itself. He writes: ""Kids have parents. Let the parents be responsible for the kids. It's not up to the government to regulate everybody's life and lifestyle. Take the government away. Let the parents take care of their kids."[44] [45] This is a version of social Darwinism on steroids, a tribute to Ayn Rand that would make even her blush.

Public values are not only under attack in the United States and elsewhere but appear to have become irrelevant just as those spaces that enable an experience of the common good are now the object of disdain by right-wing and liberal politicians, anti-public intellectuals and an army of media pundits. State violence operating under the guise of personal safety and security, while parading as a bulwark of democracy, actually does the opposite and cancels out democracy "as the incommensurable sharing of existence that makes the political possible."[45] [46]  Symptoms of ethical, political and economic impoverishment are all around us.

One recent example can be found in the farm bill passed by Republicans, which provides $195 billion in subsidies for agribusiness, while slashing roughly $4 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides food stamps for the poor.  Not only are millions of food stamp beneficiaries at risk, but it is estimated that benefits would be eliminated for nearly two millions Americans, many of them children. Katrina vanden Huevel writes in the Washington Post that it is hard to believe that any party would want to publicize such cruel practices. She writes:

"In this time of mass unemployment, 47 million Americans rely on food stamps. Nearly one-half are children under 18; nearly 10 percent are impoverished seniors. The recipients are largely white, female and young. The Republican caucus has decided to drop them from the bill as "extraneous," without having separate legislation to sustain them. Who would want to advertise these cruel values?

Neoliberal policies have produced proliferating zones of precarity and exclusion embracing more and more individuals and groups who lack jobs, need social assistance, lack health care or are homeless.  According to the apostles of casino capitalism, providing "nutritional aid to millions of pregnant mothers, infants and children . . . feeding poor children and giving them adequate health care" is a bad expenditure because it creates "a culture of dependency - and that culture of dependency, not runaway bankers, somehow caused our economic crisis." [46]

But there is more to the culture of cruelty than simply ethically challenged policies that benefit the rich and punish the poor, particularly children, there is also the emergence of a punishing state, a governing through crime youth complex, and the emergence of the school-to-prison pipeline as the new face of  Jim Crow.[47] [47]

A symptomatic example of the way in which violence has saturated everyday life can be seen in the increased acceptance of criminalizing the behavior of young people in public schools. Behaviors that were normally handled by teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators are now dealt with by the police and the criminal justice system. The consequences have been disastrous for many young people. Increasingly, poor minority and white youth are being "funneled directly from schools into prison. Instead of schools being a pipeline to opportunity, schools are feeding our prisons.  Justified by the war on drugs, the United States is in the midst of a prison binge made obvious by the fact that "Since 1970, the number of people behind bars . . . has increased 600 percent."[48] [48]Moreover, it is estimated that in some cities such as Washington, DC, that 75 percent of young black men can expect to serve time in prison. Michelle Alexander has pointed out that "One in three young African American men is currently under the control of the criminal justice system in prison, in jail, on probation, or on parole - yet mass incarceration tends to be categorized as a criminal justice issue as opposed to a racial justice or civil rights issue (or crisis)."[49] [49]

Young black men in American have an identity ascribed to them that is a direct legacy of slavery. They are considered dangerous, expendable, threatening and part of a culture of criminality. They are guilty of criminal behavior not because of the alleged crimes they might commit but because they are the product of a collective imagination paralyzed by the racism of a white supremacist culture they can only view them as a dangerous nightmare,  But the real nightmare resides in a society that hides behind the mutually informing and poisonous notions of colorblindness and a post-racial society, a convenient rhetorical obfuscation that allows white Americans to ignore the institutional and individual racist ideologies, practices and policies that cripple any viable notion of justice and democracy. As the Trayvon Martin case and verdict made clear, young black men are not only being arrested and channeled into the criminal justice system in record numbers, they are also being targeted by the police, harassed by security forces, and in some instances killed because they are black and assumed to be dangerous.[50] [50]

Under such circumstances, not only do schools resemble the culture of prisons, but young children are being arrested and subjected to court appearances for behaviors that can only be termed as trivial. How else to explain the case of a diabetic student who, because she fell asleep in study hall, was arrested and beaten by the police or the arrest of a 7-year-old boy, who because of a fight he got into with another boy in the schoolyard, was put in handcuffs and held in custody for 10 hours in a Bronx police station.  In Texas, students who miss school are not sent to the principal's office or assigned to detention. Instead, they are fined, and in too many cases, actually jailed.  It is hard to imagine, but in a Maryland school, a 13- year old girl was arrested for refusing to say the pledge of allegiance. There is more at work than stupidity and a flight from responsibility on the part of educators, parents and politicians who maintain these laws, there is also the growing sentiment that young people constitute a threat to adults and that the only way to deal with them is to subject them to mind-crushing punishment.

This medieval type of punishment inflicts pain on the psyche and the body of young people as part of a public spectacle. Even more disturbing is how the legacy of slavery informs this practice given that "Arrests and police interactions . . .  disproportionately affect low-income schools with large African-American and Latino populations"[41][51] Poor minorities live in a new age of Jim Crow, one in which the ravages of segregation, racism, poverty and dashed hopes are amplified by the forces of "privatization, financialization, militarization and criminalization," fashioning a new architecture of punishment, massive human suffering and authoritarianism.[42] [52]Students being miseducated, criminalized and arrested through a form of penal pedagogy in prison-type schools provide a grim reminder of the degree to which the ethos of containment and punishment now creeps into spheres of everyday life that were largely immune in the past from this type of state violence. This is not merely barbarism parading as reform - it is also a blatant indicator of the degree to which sadism and the infatuation with violence have become normalized in a society that seems to take delight in dehumanizing itself.

Widespread violence now functions as part of an anti-immune system that turns the economy of genuine pleasure into a mode of sadism that creates the foundation for sapping democracy of any political substance and moral vitality. The predominance of the disimagination machine in American society, along with its machinery of social death and historical amnesia, seeps into in all aspects of life, suggesting that young people and others marginalized by class, race and ethnicity have been abandoned. But historical and public memory is not merely on the side of domination.

As the anthropologist, David Price, points out, historical memory is a potent weapon in fighting against the "desert of organized forgetting" and implies a rethinking of the role that artists, intellectuals, educators, youth and other concerned citizens can play in fostering a "reawakening of America's battered public memories."[53] [53] Against the tyranny of forgetting, educators, young people, social activists, public intellectuals, workers and others can work to make visible and oppose the long legacy and current reality of state violence and the rise of the punishing state. Such a struggle suggests not only reclaiming, for instance, education as a public good but also reforming the criminal justice system and removing the police from schools. In addition, there is a need to employ public memory, critical theory, and other intellectual archives and resources to expose the crimes of those market-driven criminogenc regimes of power that now run the commanding institutions of society, with particular emphasis on how they have transformed the welfare state into a warfare state.

The rise of casino capitalism and the punishing state with their vast apparatuses of real and symbolic violence must be also addressed as part of a broader historical and political attack on public values, civic literacy and economic justice. Crucial here is the need to engage how such an attack is aided and abetted by the emergence of a poisonous neoliberal public pedagogy that depoliticizes as much as it entertains and corrupts.  State violence cannot be defined simply as a political issue but also as a pedagogical issue that wages violence against the minds, desires, bodies and identities of young people as part of the reconfiguration of the social state into the punishing state. At the heart of this transformation is the emergence of a new form of corporate sovereignty, a more intense form of state violence, a ruthless survival-of-the-fittest ethic used to legitimate the concentrated power of the rich, and a concerted effort to punish young people who are out of step with neoliberal ideology, values and modes of governance.

The value of making young people stupid, subject to an educational deficit has enormous currency in a society in which existing relations of power are normalized. Under such conditions, those who hold power accountable are reviewed as treasonous while critically engaged young people are denounced as un-American.[54] [54]  In any totalitarian society, dissent is viewed as a threat, civic literacy is denounced, and those public spheres that produce engage citizens are dismantled or impoverished through the substitution of training for education.  It is important to note that Edward Snowden was labeled as a spy not a whistle-blower - even though he exposed the reach of the spy services into the lives of most Americans. More importantly, he was denounced as being part of a generation that unfortunately combined being educated with a distrust of authority.

Of course, these antidemocratic tendencies represent more than a threat to young people, they also put in peril all of those individuals, groups, public spheres and institutions now considered disposable because that are at odds with a world run by bankers, the financial elite and the rich.  Only a well-organized movement of young people, educators, workers, parents, religious groups and other concerned citizens will be capable of changing the power relations and vast economic inequalities that have generated what has become a country in which it is almost impossible to recognize the ideals of a real democracy.


The rise of the punishing state and the governing-through-crime youth complex throughout American society suggests the need for a politics that not only negates the established order but imagines a new one, one informed by a radical vision in which the future does not imitate the present.[55] [55] In this discourse, critique merges with a sense of realistic hope or what I call educated hope, and individual struggles merge into larger social movements.  The challenges that young people are mobilizing against oppressive societies all over the globe are being met with a state-sponsored violence that is about more than police brutality.  This is especially clear in the United States, given its transformation from a social state to a warfare state, from a state that once embraced a semblance of the social contract to one that no longer has a language for justice, community and solidarity - a state in which the bonds of fear and commodification have replaced the bonds of civic responsibility and democratic vision. Until educators, individuals, artists, intellectuals and various social movements address how the metaphysics of casino capitalism, war and violence have taken hold on American society (and in other parts of the world) along with the savage social costs they have enacted, the forms of social, political, and economic violence that young people are protesting against, as well as the violence waged in response to their protests, will become impossible to recognize and act on.

If the ongoing struggles waged by young people are to matter, demonstrations and protests must give way to more sustainable organizations that develop alternative communities, autonomous forms of worker control, collective forms of health care, models of direct democracy and emancipatory modes of education.  Education must become central to any viable notion of politics willing to imagine a life and future outside of casino capitalism.  There is a need for educators, young people, artists and other cultural workers to develop an educative politics in which people can address the historical, structural and ideological conditions at the core of the violence being waged by the corporate and repressive state and to make clear that government under the dictatorship of market sovereignty and power is no longer responsive to the most basic needs of young people - or most people for that matter.

From the Archive: Al-Qaeda History


THE 2001 SEPTEMBER 11th ATTACKS: Offiials examine the crater on September 11, 2001 at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The plane from Newark, New Jersey, and bound for San Francisco, California, is believed to have been hijacked and crashed in the field killing all 45 people on board. (DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images) #

The issue of who gets to define the future, own the nation's wealth, shape the parameters of the social state, control the globe's resources, and create a formative culture for producing engaged and socially responsible citizens is no longer a rhetorical issue, but offers up new categories for defining how matters of representations, education, economic justice, and politics are to be defined and fought over.  At stake here is the need for both a language of critique and possibility. A discourse for broad-based political change is crucial for developing a politics that speaks to a future that can provide sustainable jobs, decent health care, quality education and communities of solidarity and support for young people. Such a vision is crucial and relies on ongoing educational and political struggles to awaken the inhabitants of neoliberal societies to their current reality and what it means to be educated not only to think outside of neoliberal commonsense but also to struggle for those values, hopes, modes of solidarity, power relations and institutions that infuse democracy with a spirit of egalitarianism and economic and social justice and make the promise of democracy a goal worth fighting for. For this reason, any collective struggle that matters has to embrace education as the center of politics and the source of an embryonic vision of the good life outside of the imperatives of predatory capitalism. Too many progressives and people on the left are stuck in the discourse of foreclosure and cynicism and need to develop what Stuart Hall calls a "sense of politics being educative, of politics changing the way people see things."[56][56] This is a difficult task, but what we are seeing in cities such as Chicago, Athens and other dead zones of capitalism throughout the world is the beginning of a long struggle for the institutions, values and infrastructures that make critical education and community the center of a robust, radical democracy. This is a challenge for young people and all those invested in the promise of a democracy that extends not only the meaning of politics, but also a commitment to economic justice and democratic social change.


From the Archive: Al-Qaeda History